When most people imagine scuba diving they think of hot weather and coral reefs. While this may bode well for some scuba divers that prefer this safe and easy underwater life, there are others that live in locations that don’t allow them that luxury.
A Brief Look at Canada
Being the second largest country in the world, and spanning from mid latitudes to the high Arctic, Canada couldn’t be further from your tropical dive destination.
In most people’s minds, Canada is a place of everything cold; long dark winters, absurd amounts of snow, polar dipping, snowmobiles and lets not forget our national sport – ice hockey. While this is somewhat true, the reality is, Canada actually has several months of beautiful – and even hot – summer weather that couldn’t be further from all the preconceived notions.
Having lived there my entire life, there’s no place like it in the world. Maybe it’s the pure and untouched wilderness spilling for miles, or the overall kindness of the people. Whatever the case, anyone who has visited Canada can attest that it is a country unlike any other.
Cold Water Diving in Canada
In all its splendor and glory, natural wonders and cosmopolitan cities, it’s easy to think of Canada as anything but a diving destination. But with 243, 797 kilometers of coastline touching three different oceans it time to bust that myth and say: Canada has some pretty wicked diving spots.
At first glance, diving in this this unforgiving region seems absurd. But for those who want to take one giant step out of their comfort zone – there is beauty, fragility and mystery that lurk beneath Canada’s watery surface.
The Maritime City of Halifax
Halifax is a dream of a city, nestled along the oceanfront of Atlantic Canada. Having a booming population of 403, 000 residents, this city, is the largest by population on Canada’s east coast and prides itself on fishing and maritime hospitality.
From world famous lighthouses to fun filled adventures just waiting to be discovered, there is no feeling quite like venturing into this neck of the woods.
Shore Diving in Halifax
Shore diving isn’t always easy. It can often be a hassle getting bulky gear in and out of the water, hiking to and from the dive entry point and syncing prep time with your dive buddy. But with a little practice it can show you some of the most rewarding type of diving – after all who wants to be constrained by boat schedules when you can be out there diving whenever you want.
Shore diving in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a real treat for those who can handle cold water diving. It lets divers catch a glimpse at the Canada’s maritimes from a completely different point of view, one of water and wonder.
I like shore diving in Halifax, Nova Scotia for two main reasons. Firstly, for someone with all their own dive equipment and vehicle, shore diving is much more affordable that chartering a boat. And secondly, because there is just so much life and colour to see right off the Nova Scotia coastline, it’s almost unreal.
There are more shore diving sites around Halifax area than I can count. It is probably one of the most explored dive regions of Nova Scotia. Some of the dive sites are a quick and easy beach access, while others are a little trickier to find.
For shore dive site specific information and locations check out Dive Buddies: Shore diving in Halifax, Nova Scotia blog post.
Halifax Marine Wildlife
There is plenty to see while shore diving Canada’s east coast city. Crabs, lobster, fish, snails, here in Halifax we got your wildlife craving covered.
Fancy checking out some crab-tastic little creatures? For some people, it’s not about the big things, it’s about the little things and when your shore dive in Halifax there are little things to spot as far as the eye can see. Some of our favorite spineless critters include; lobsters, hermit crabs, green crabs, rock crabs, periwinkle snails, moon snails, sand dollars, sea stars, sea cucumbers, anemones, limpets, scallops, shrimp, nudibranchs…
Time and time again, I find myself amazed at what can be found just a hop, skip and jump from the tide’s edge and finding fish is not the exception.
Fish of all shapes and sizes are an expected sighting when diving in the ocean of Nova Scotia, when your diving in the ocean you never know what you will be lucky to see. Flat fish such as flounder and halibut sneak around the sandy bottoms, while larger pelagics school in the water column. Pollock, mackerel, sand lance and sea perch are a few of the curious fish that may join you on your dive!
Keep your eyes peeled for this grumpy looking guy. Sea ravens and sculpin are a classic example of your sit and wait predator. They come in lots of different colours, trust me I’ve even seen one that was pink, and for the most part they let divers get up close and personal.
You’d be pretty lucky if you caught sight of a seal or whale while shore diving in Halifax, but that’s not to say they aren’t there. It’s pretty common to see harbour seals and porpoises bobbing around some dive sites but they tend to keep their distance from divers.
From the glacial water of the Arctic ocean to the daunting tides of the Bay of Fundy, scuba diving in Canada is definitely not for the faint hearted. Not many countries allow for lake, ocean, ice and wreck diving all year round at such a spectacular level.
Don’t let cold dark water stop you from diving!